WHERE: 1077 Bank Street, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K1S 3W9 (across from the Mayfair Theatre).
WHAT: House Of TARG is a live venue with over 40 Pinball, Classic Arcade machines & a tantalizing perogie menu. Ottawa’s only classic arcade, barcade.
WHY: Pinball & Perogies – need I say more?
I was recently in Ottawa, Ontario for a quick trip catching up with the Tattoo Hero team, eating ALL the vegetarian sushi possible, and hitting my favourite Ottawa shops (in particular Vertigo Records and Wunderkammer).
While I was in town, I also wanted to find something unique to do for a laid back birthday night out. It’s been several years since I’ve had a big birthday blowout, and I definitely wasn’t feeling a party vibe this year either.
So when I stumbled upon House of TARG, I knew I had found the perfect place to spend my birthday.
House of TARG, located across from the Mayfair Theatre (a small repertory cinema & another Ottawa institution) on Bank Street is a bar/arcade/music venue rolled into one.
An unimposing street-facing entrance leads you downstairs to a large underground venue, the walls lined with pinball machines, as well as arcade game classics. A centre bar staffed by a tattooed bar tender with a fantastic sense of humor immediately makes me feel welcomed. No attitude here if you need to make change for the games, the staff are attentive while maintaining a relaxed, laid back vibe. The music, a mix of metal, punk, rock and alternative is just perfect.
And can we talk about the perogies?
They’re damn fine.
I ordered a small Kale ‘Em All (Potato blended with smoked Gouda and fresh kale), and my friend Kathleen went with the Kraut (world famous in-house Sauerkraut fills this perogie with a sharp tangy zest). I think we both could have easily devoured a large portion and then some, they were that good.
And if you’re Vegan, they’ve also started offering a Vegan option too.
After 9pm there’s a cover charge of $5 which goes towards the bands that play. I’ve seen some reviews with people whining about this, which I think is lame as $5 isn’t a huge cover charge to pay to support live music. And if it’s that big of a deal you can always go at 5pm and get in a good solid four hours of game play and perogies before the bands start.
Game wise, I felt the selection was great a mix of visibly vintage pinball machines with newer ones (like the J.J. Abrams Star Trek pinball). The classic arcade games were also a treat, it’s been YEARS since I’ve had a chance to play Double Dragon or Mortal Kombat.
Kathleen absolutely killed me though on the vintage racing game, I kept crashing and blowing up my car. Whoops.
Had House of TARG existed when I was living in Ottawa, I would have spent a lot of my nights and weekends there. If, like me, you enjoy video games & pinball, dive bars with character, delicious food & loud music then you’re going to LOVE House of TARG.
My night there was easily one of my best birthday’s yet – spent with a wonderful friend I’ve known since the age of 10, just geeking out and playing games together.
I can’t wait to head back to House of TARG on my next trip for a pint, perogies and some pinball – and I highly recommend you do too if you’re ever in Ottawa!